It was a dark day for Nigerian football on Wednesday when two out of the country’s three club sides left in the CAF Confederation Cup were edged out of the 2018 competition.
Though they defeated the visiting Al-Hilal of Sudan 3-1, Akwa United of Uyo could not make it into the group stage of the competition. Rather it was the Sudanese who progressed into the next stage on away goals.
Al-Hilal had defeated the Nigerian representatives 2-0 in the first leg played last week. The visitors’ solitary goal at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium by their captain, Basheer, proved crucial, as they went through on technical grounds.
Akwa United’s three goals were scored by Michael Ibe in the second half after the hosts had trailed 0-1 in the first half.
At the Stade Modibo Keita, Bamako, Mali, MFM FC of Lagos failed to redeem their image after losing the first leg of the Confederation Cup Round 2 match to Djoliba 0-1 at Agege Stadium.
Though the Olukoya Babes played a goalless draw in Bamako, it was too little, too late.
Plateau United had crashed out of the same competition on Tuesday following a 0-4 loss to USM Alger in Algiers.
The Nigeria Professional Football League champions had scraped a 2-1 win in the first leg match played at the Agege Stadium, Lagos.
Enyimba FC are the only Nigerian club side left in the running for the diadem.
The former African champions qualified for the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup at the expense of Bidvest FC of South Africa.
And that was even by a whisker.
Enyimba were on Wednesday held to a goalless draw by the South Africans at the U.J Esuene Stadium, Calabar, but the People’s Elephant bagged the ticket to the group stage thanks to away goals. The reverse fixture in Johanesburg had ended 1-1.
Austin Oladapo even failed to convert a penalty kick awarded Enyimba in stoppage time on Wednesday following a foul on Freedom Omofoman.